“The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where…”
~The Hollies, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”
Any long journey can be tiring. When the destination takes longer than we expect, it’s easy for those childhood questions to resurface, “Are we there yet?” “How much longer?” When I was a kid, we had different ways of passing the time on long trips. There was the old classic, “The ABC Game”, which I’m sure everyone has played at some point. On wintery nights when the snow was falling, snow transformed to stars zooming past as I made the jump to light speed. Then there was the invisible “ninja guy”, visible to only me, who would be running along side our car and would jump from one car to the next or possibly swing on power lines. Ok, I admit, that one is kind of weird, but it helped the time go by.
As we get older, perspective changes a bit. It’s no longer about long drive times, but it is the spans in life’s journey that get us asking questions. It helps to have some road markers to gauge what has transpired along the way. It’s been beneficial for me to realize that this process is not only about getting to the destination, but the work God is doing in the process. Here are just a couple of my road markers – things that God has been working in my life in a deeper way.
Humility is one of those things that we all want to believe that we have. I find it much easier to say that I dealt with pride, rather than I continue to deal with my pride. There is something quite humbling about being “let go” and then not being “picked up”. No one likes to be the last person picked in dodgeball. The “good players” get chosen first. Having a restaurant turn you down for a dishwasher job isn’t exactly a pick me up either.
This process has been a reminder, as well as a growing time, in understanding that my identity is in the Gospel. Any other title, any other relationship can be stripped away. What Jesus has accomplished in my place can never be undone. Beyond a working title, beyond the cherished roles of father and husband, the greatest title I have is “His”. I am His. Clothed in His righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). Holy in His sight (1 Cor 1:8). Without spot or wrinkle (Eph 5:27). Who I am is not in what I do, but in what He’s done. I am grateful for this reminder and need to have my focus and heart continually drawn to this truth.
While on this journey, I have been so grateful for those who have walked beside us. On this road that leads to who knows where, I have appreciated those who have been willing to bear the burdens of their brother and sisters. God continues to sustain us through the prayers, encouragement and gifts of dear ones. We have seen God work in some pretty amazing ways. Over the last 10 months, God has used old friends, new friends and friends we didn’t even know to encourage us. How encouraging it is to see the church across the country lifting us up and seeking God’s will with us. Thank you.
This journey has been longer than expected. It’s been tiring and difficult, yet so good. We have sent out countless resumés across the country and even more prayers. We’ve been “close” a couple times, yet God has not yet opened the door. So we wait. While we wait, it’s a reminder that in all of our efforts we are dependent on God to make things happen (Prov 16:9). He is trustworthy. Following Jesus has always been about faith. When the usual patterns of life get changed, it’s an opportunity for faith to be stretched and grown in unique ways. Would I have looked forward to this heading into it? No. Am I grateful for what God has done through it? Absolutely.
I started color coding states that we’ve sent resumés to. While it looks like a blank canvas in such a vast area, we take heart in knowing that God has a dot on that map for us. It’s an exciting prospect. We don’t need to worry about trying to figure out where the dot is, we just need to daily surrender to His leading. This is not simply about a destination, but road markers along the way. Those lessons will be carried with me. God has used the long route to help me understand and appreciate them more deeply. No “ninja guy” needed.